Cut-a-thon and Zombie Run Raise Awareness for St. Augustine Man Awaiting Kidney Transplant | Community Spirit

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Cut-a-thon and Zombie Run Raise Awareness for St. Augustine Man Awaiting Kidney Transplant



Saturday, Oct. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. 99.9 Gator Country will host the Kids Fitness Zombie Chase at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Area, 300 A Phillip Randolph Blvd. If registering before Oct. 14, the fee is $15. Children can also register the day of the race for $20. Registration to participate as a zombie is $10. For more information about this event, please contact Eden Kendall at or 904-562-1722.

Sunday, Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Salon Calypso, 12276 San Jose Blvd in Jacksonville, will donate its proceeds to NFT in honor of Velazquez. For $25, patrons can get a shampoo and desginer cut. The Yogurt Co. located next door also will donate 25% of its proceeds to NFT in honor of Velazquez during that time. For more information about this event, please contact or 609-339-0889.

Hector Velazquez is fighting for his life as he awaits a kidney transplant. The medical expenses are overwhelming, and family and friends are holding a cut-a-thon to help offset the costs. 

In 2001, Velazquez, 64, was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease during a routine physical exam. Doctors say a kidney transplant is the best way to prolong his life, and he currently endures rigorous dialysis treatments three times a week while awaiting his transplant.

Despite his health challenges, Velazquez is optimistic about the future and is thankful for his strong faith and the love and support of his wife, Maria, their two children and six grandchildren. He loves learning about history and religious philosophy, as well as teaching a Bible class and collecting music. As an advocate for the less fortunate, he has been recognized as a leader in the Latino community for 20 years and received multiple awards for improving the lives of others.

Velazquez’s transplant will cost approximately $250,000. Even with health coverage, he faces considerable medical expenses related to his transplant. For the rest of his life, he will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. The cost of his post-transplant medications can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per month, and they are as critical to his survival as the transplant itself.

After having to short sell their home in New Jersey, the Velazquez family permanently relocated to Florida to be near the transplant center, incurring substantial travel and relocation expenses. Because of his strict dialysis schedule, he had to retire early, adding to his financial strain.

To help offset these expenses, Velazquez turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.

“Hector has gone through so much, but his positive outlook is amazing,” said Lauren Wilmer, NFT fundraising consultant. “At NFT, we’re committed to helping them raise funds so they can focus on Hector’s health without constantly worrying about the costs. We want Hector to spend many years watching his young grandchildren grow up.”

To make a tax-deductible gift in honor of Velazquez, please send a contribution to the NFT Florida Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Hector Velazquez” on the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at Donors should click on “Patients We Help” to locate Velazquez.

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